Building capacity to incorporate innovative biomedical science into life science instruction


A teacher learns how to analyze a heat map to identify genomic changes associated with prenatal arsenic exposure.

UNC SRP’s RTC science educator Dana Haine, MS was invited to lead a six-hour workshop titled Integrating Epigenetics into your Biology Curriculum for 24 high school science teachers at the July 2015 Environmental Health Sciences Summer Institute hosted by the Texas A&M Health Science Center.

Ms. Haine featured the epigenetics research of SRP scientist Rebecca Fry, PhD, by conducting two data analysis activities she wrote in collaboration with Dr. Fry and her research team: DNA Methylation & Cadmium Exposure in utero and Assessing functional consequences of epigenetic modifications. In addition, Dr. Fry joined the group virtually by presenting her epigenetics research related to arsenic exposure. Ms. Haine also conducted an activity she developed in collaboration with SRP scientist Jim Swenberg, DVM, PhD: Investigating the Exposome: Vinyl Chloride Exposure, DNA Damage & Repair.

ERP_TT_72ppi-5The RTC’s model of facilitating teacher workshops that combine delivery of up-to-date science content with relevant STEM-based classroom activities continues to be successful at increasing teachers’ content knowledge, in this case about the connection between the environment and genetic expression, and by providing resources to support instruction.

By developing curricula on the topics of epigenetics and the endogenous exposome, the UNC SRP RTC has enhanced the capacity of biology teachers to incorporate innovative biomedical research findings into their life science instruction.